Formula One: Red Bull to leave Renault for Honda engines in initial two-year deal

Red Bull says it has reached an agreement with Honda Motor to race with the Japanese manufacturer's power units for the 2019 and 2020 Formula 1 seasons.
Red Bull says it has reached an agreement with Honda Motor to race with the Japanese manufacturer's power units for the 2019 and 2020 Formula 1 seasons.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - The Red Bull Formula One motor-racing team announced on Tuesday (June 19) that it is splitting up with Renault and will use Honda engines from next season after agreeing an initial two-year deal.

Red Bull "has reached an agreement with Honda Motor to race with the Japanese manufacturer's power units for the 2019 and 2020 Formula 1 seasons", it said in a statement.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: "This multi-year agreement with Honda signals the start of an exciting new phase in Aston Martin Red Bull Racing's efforts to compete not just for grand prix wins but for what is always our goal - championship titles.

"After careful consideration and evaluation we are certain this partnership with Honda is the right direction for the team. We have been impressed by Honda's commitment to F1, by the rapid steps they have made in recent times with our sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso, and by the scope of their ambition, which matches our own."

For Renault Sport F1, the move "is a natural evolution for Renault and Red Bull Racing", with Honda already equipping the Toro Rosso team, likewise owned by Red Bull, an Austrian beverage company.

The French constructor stressed that the 12-season partnership had been a successful one, bringing 57 Grand Prix victories and eight world titles - drivers and constructors combined.

German driver Sebastian Vettel scored a quadruple run of championship successes between 2010 and 2013 before reliability issues hit the following year.

The deal will run for two years, which would leave the door open to a tie-up with the likes of Aston Martin from 2021 when new F1 technical rules come into effect.

After the Vettel years of plenty, relations between Renault and Red Bull deteriorated as wins became rarer.

Managing director Cyril Abiteboul had been waiting for Red Bull to declare whether their tie-up, contracted till the year-end, would be continuing or not.

Renault will continue to power its works team as well as McLaren, with whom it began a partnership this year after the latter came off three poor seasons with Honda engines.

Renault Sport F1 is based in the Parisian suburb of Viry-Chatillon and at Enstone, near Oxford in England.